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in washington president obama is facing lots of criticism for the u.s. mission in libya. two and a half hours from now he'll try to ease concerns about the operation's goals, its costs and the end game. his remarks coming a little over a week from the first coalition air strikes and critical time for opposition fighters on the ground. gadhafi's troops wiped out some of the gains but in recent days coalition air strikes have helped rebels seize some of the northern stays. now to reza sayah with more on benghazi. what's the latest information, ressa, that you are getting. >> reporter: these forces had an impressive three days capturing five towns from the gadhafi forces. today they finally met some resistance, the first in about 72 hours. that resistance coming in the city of sirte, gadhafi's birthplace, his hometown. when you talk to opposition officials here they anticipated a fights there and they got t.rebel figorces pushing back a one rebel fighter telling cnn that he and a group of other fighters cornelio sommaruga gadhafi soldiers waving a right flag, that, of course, the universal signa
at from the u.s. navy. i'm don lemon from the cnn headquarters in atlanta. >> i'm jonathan mann. a special edition of "the situation room" with wolf blitzer is next. >>> thanks very much. french jets take off. the allied gauntlet comes down. a coalition of western and arab states launching the first strikes on libya. >> yoins in firing missiles against gadhafi's forces around misrata, to stop gadhafi from butchering his own people. >>> at this hour the besieged town of benghazi is in tatters we're told but still in the control of the rebels. after days of pleading for help they're getting it right now. the international community responding with decisive force. >>> hello to our viewers in the united states and around the world. we want to welcome you to a special edition of "the situation room." i'm wolf blitzer in washington and joined by jonathan mann in atlanta. jon, this is going to be a very ferocious fight given everything we know about moammar gadhafi, his sons, those most loyal to him. they are not going to give up really quickly. >> nearly 25 years after the u.s. attacked moammar
military action. how far will the u.s. and its allies go to enforce a u.n.-authorized no-fly zone? also this hour, a new level of crisis at japan's crippled snuk power plant. as the race goes on to heat down those reactors, officials now say this disaster is on par with the worst nuclear accident in u.s. history and mile after mile of destruction, search and rescue crews barely know where to begin. we're with emergency teams risking their own lives to save others. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." >>> president obama says the world has given moammar gadhafi ample warning that his bloody assault on rebel forces will not stand. mr. obama putting gadhafi on notice just a while ago, a day after the u.n. security council approved the use of force to protect civilians in libya. the president says the libyan leader would commit atrocities if left unchecked and thousands of people could die. >> these terms are not subject to negotiation. if gadhafi does not comply with the resolution, the international community will impose consequences. and the resolution will be enforce enforc
of the globe and japan and the u.s. it would follow a little possible parcel of radiation all the way across the country and pacific. it would take many days. a lot of the radiation would be gone. there's just no threat. >> we will see. you'll keep watching, it as will i, but thanks so much for watching it here. want to turn things over to jessica yellin in "the situation room." jess, to you. >> happening now, breaking news. three nuclear reactors damaged to the core. the crisis in japan is said to be deteriorating right now. u.s. officials are suggesting the situation is more dire than many thought. with america's top nuclear watchdogs saying radiation levels are extremely high. freezing cold and snow adding to the hardship for quake and tsunami survivors there and hampering the rescue and recovery. more people now seem eager to get out of japan all together. >>> and wolf blitzer's one-on-one interview with secretary of state hillary clinton in egypt. she's talking about the disaster in japan, as well as the uprisings in libya and across the region. welcome to our viewers in the united stat
to building more nuclear power plants in the u.s. that is up from last year. >>> and now, it is just about that time to head it to the man, the birthday man today, wolf blitzer in "the situation room." wolf, to you. >>> thanks very much, brooke. happening now, two u.s. air force crew members make it out of a fighter jet crash in libya alive. we are taking you to the crash site and telling you how libyan rebels help keep one of them safe. >>> also, president obama is facing growing anger for ordering air strikes in libya without the approval of congress. now, one fellow democrat, even talking about possible impeachment. >>> and new u.s. assessments of the radiation risks from japan's nuclear crisis and new progress inside the plant to shed light on the damage from the sudan. i'm wolf blitzer. you are in "the situation room." >>> some very anxious hours for the u.s. military after the crash of a fighter jet, giving way to relief now that the two crew members are safely out of libya. defense officials confirming that both the pilot and the weapons officer have been rescued. they say the f-15
and what this could mean for u.s. forces. we're also standing by for a statement from the secretary of state hillary clinton. we're also standing by for a statement from the nato secretary-general in brussels. stand by for that. >>> moammar gadhafi is still on the attack, on this the sixth night of pounding by the coalition forces. an explosion and anti-aircraft fire echos in tripoli just a little while ago. could the outrageous failure at reagan happen again? the fallout, the danger at two planes coming in for a landing radioed the control tower and got no answer. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." let's begin with the breaking news. the united states may be closer to giving up its lead role in the fight to protect lickance from gadhafi's forces. right now there's new uncertainty, though, about a tentative deal for nato to take command of the mission. we have lots of questions about how this might play out and how it might affect the overall goal of seeing gadhafi go away. the secretary of state hillary clinton will make a statement a little more that an hour from no
pushing back against mounting pressure to impose a military no-fly zone over libya. why one u.s. official says it's, quote, an extraordinary complex situation. plus, gas prices soaring as the crisis in libya intensifies. is it time now for the united states to tap into its emergency oil reserve to soften the blow at the pump? and an estimated 18,000 refugees crowded into a tent city near the libyan border as a full-blown humanitarian crisis is unfolding. lots happening right here today in "the situation room." pendingo much money on printing. i'd like to put you in charge of cutting costs. calm down. i know that it is not your job. what i'm saying... excuse me? alright, fine. no, you don't have to do it. ok? [ male announcer ] notre dame knows it's better for xerox to control its printing costs. so they can focus on winning on and off the field. [ manager ] are you sure i can't talk -- ok, no, i get it. [ male announcer ] with xerox, you're ready for real business. and go everywhere. to help revitalize a neighborhood in massachusetts, restore a historic landmark in harlem, fund a local bu
once the bombing stops. it's still u.s. policy for gadhafi to go. but that's not the mandate of the united nations mission. this hour, live reports, new information about the battle plan right now, and the president's end game. >>> and fright thing new set backs in japan's nuclear crisis. officials try to put to rest concerns of contaminated food. i'm wolf blitzer you're in "the situation room." >>> anti-aircraft fire over tripoli just a little while ago. one u.s. official tells us coalition attacks appear to have stalled moammar gadhafi and his forces. it's unclear what the libyan leader may be doing next or where he is even right now. gadhafi's compound took a pounding today. u.s. and allied commanders deny they're specifically targeting him or his residents. one u.s. commander acknowledged that gadhafi may still be in power when the bombing stops. president obama says the u.s. will try to push gadhafi out. but within the limits sanctioned by the united nations. >> it is u.s. policy that gadhafi needs to go. we have a wide range of tools to support that policy. when it come
weapons of the nato alliance, like this air strike by britain. and yet, u.s. military officials concede today that the libyan regime is still determined to fight and reinforced its positions in the eastern cities fwh including ajdabiya. the occasion says gadhafi is trying to recruit and arm volunteers to fight rebel forces. the libyan strongman defiant as nato moves to take over command of the libyan mission. the top u.s. commander of the operation tells me that nato has now agreed in principle to not only take charge of the no-fully zone but to also to protect libyan civilians as well. the details will be worked out, he says, over the next few erda. general carter ham sending a message directly to gadhafi. here in "the situation room," we spoke just a littlewhilego and i had this exchange with him. cnn is seen live around the world, including in libya. and officer your military-to-military -- the officers surrounding gadhafi might be watching right now, gadhafi might be watching, his sons might be watching. look into atthe camera. what would you say to them right now, officer t officer
's talk about that also with retired u.s. army general george jalwan, the nato allied supreme commander. if in fact this is true that the president in recent days, maybe the past week or two, signed a covert action order, a finding, as they call it, to secretly assist the rebels who are fighting gadhafi's forces, what does that say to you? >> first of all, i have no knowledge of whether he signed a finding or not. it may be one of two things, may be an actual sort of action or it could be keep pressure on gadhafi to really feel the heat that he's feeling now with the resignation of his foreign minister and also with what i think is what is happening in london where the international community is very much united in what needs to be done. >> for all practical purposes the coalition, now nato control, they -- they have taken aside in this civil war, they want to help the rebels and see gadhafi go, even though the u.n. security council resolution didn't go that far as we all know. here's the question. if in fact the president signed a secret finding that goes way beyond what the coalition
, be careful over there. we'll stay in close touch. thank you. >>> u.s. officials say the defection shun of libya's foreign minister shows pressure is having an effect. moussa koussa led to london yesterday. hes the highest ranks official to break with the regime. he once serve as the intelligence chief, and has secrets to tell. the british prime minister says there's no deal of any kind to give moussa koussa immunity. joining us from tripoli, nic robertson. nic, you're getting some reaction from the libyan government on the defection shun of the foreign minister moussa koussa. >> reporter: we haven't had a reaction from the top, gu the government is saying they allowed him to deeffect, because of health reasons. they said he had a heart condition, but it's very clear from the fact that it took them limb 24 hours to respond to the defection that they didn't know it was coming. the government's trying to put the best face on it that they can, but it rings hollow. moussa koussa tricked this government, tricked the leadership and has left the country and left them hanging, wolf. >> how sign
plants right here in the united states. >>> and will the u.s. supreme court green light a massive discrimination lawsuit against walmart? arguments today in one of the most important workers' rights cases the court has ever heard. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." >>> moammar gadhafi and his troops are being accused of new carnage and destruction. just hours after president obama tried to explain the u.s. mission in libya to the american people. this hour we have breaking news. we're learning about major, major setbacks for rebel forces in several cities. in misrata, witnesses say government forces are hammering the city hard, firing bullets over civilians' heads and telling them to run for their lives. gadhafi is fighting back with a vengeance against rebels who had regained ground in recent days under the cover of coalition air strikes. >>> and joining us now in ajdabiya is our own arwa damon. you're with the rebels there. how are they doing, arwa? what's the latest? >> reporter: well, wolf, it's been another bitterly disappointing day for the opposition here. th
room." >>> now, breaking news. urgent new teams to cool down an overheated reactor. now the u.s. government is stepping in to evacuate possibly thousands of americans from the country and get them away from any nuclear danger. secretary of state hillary clinton tells our wolf blitzer she's worried about the health and saved of americans in japan even as she heads home from tunis tunisia. i'm candy crowley, you're in "the situation room." nuclear experts say the new attempt to douse an overheated reactor has been somewhat effective. helicopters, fire trucks and police water cannons all have been deployed. we are told that radiation levels dipped, but they are still high, so the frarchtic work to prevent a full-scale meltdown goes on. cnn's anna coren is nil tokyo. just bring us up to date. >> well, candidate, it's entering the seventh day of this crisis, and now at the fukushima daiichi plant trying to bring this situation under control. we saw the pictures of the helicopters, trying to spray water onto the reactors. those crews had to get out because of the radiation levels incr
it means for the mission and for u.s. forces. libyan rebels now have a new hope of pushing back moammar gadhafi's fighters. we'll tell you about a man who sacrificed his life to help the opposition. plus, the dangers and challenges in the disaster zone of japan. brian todd has an account of the search and rescuers. and our crew, what all of them experienced in the quake and tsunami wreckage. welcome to our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." [ explosion ] >>> first to a key battleground city where rebels are making headway in the battle to seize controlle from moammar gadhafi. here's cnn's arwa damon. >> reporter: this does look a bit more organized than we have seen the opposition on the front line in the past. we find the front line a short distance away from the northern entrance to ajdabiya. gadhafi's troops still control it and the western road. so you're saying these air strikes destroyed three tanks -- gadhafi tanks positioned at the entrance to ajdabiya. they are explaining that there are a few more that gadhafi's
safe for infants, i'm wolf blitzer, you're in the "situation room." in a span of 24 hours, the u.s. military said the coalition launched more than 50 strikes in the mission to protect libyan civilians. but no indication the battle is being over. just a short while ago the secretary of state warned gadhafi the quickest way to end it is for him to leave.<[kyk: . we2íor certainly encouraged the would make a right decision. not only institute a real co comprehensive cease-fire but withdraw from the cities and military abs and prepare for a transition that does not incl e include. >> there are serious reports of major clashes under way. what do we know about the fighting at this moment. >> you just heard secretary of state hillary clinton encouraging momammar gadhafi bu he's not backing down. a couple of major developments that shows that this conflict is far from over. anded stage is set from what could be a lengthy and complicated conflict. let's start with a strategically strategic city. then gadhafi forces took it over. when the momentum shifted back to the opposition forces and t
are overwhelmed. supplies are limited. plus, the u.s. military is moving in the region. the defense second robert gates now directioning two navy warships into the mediterranean. >>> and a dramatic new development in the race for 2012. the first major republican contender is ready to take a critical step towards announcing a run for president. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." let's begin with the latest developments in the libyan crisis. reports of gunfire and assault in the city of zawiya. that's where forces loyal to the libyan leader moammar gadhafi attempted but allegedly failed to seize control from rebels. meanwhile, a strong show of force against gadhafi just out of the united nations. the general assembly adopting a resolution to oust libya from the u.n. human rights council. we're monitoring the story from every angle on the ground as only the global resources of cnn can. first, let's go to tripoli where gadhafi shows no signs of losing his grip on power in the capital. some residents there have refrained from protesting for fear of simply being killed. cnn's senior inte
unlikely that the u.s. would move forward unilaterally. that's all the indications we have gotten from very senior officials here at the white house. instead, they have made clear that they would want to build some sort of a coalition, us a noted, before the u.n. or with nato. bottom line with nato forces that china and/or china or russia could block that, seems likely they would, in terms of any effort to move forward militarily and nato strained with resources in afghanistan. unclear whether or not nato would be on board. still a lot of work behind the scenes, but i think it's fair to say that it's highly unlikely that the u.s. would more forward without some sort of support from either the u.n. or nato, wolf. >> standing by to get more from the white house. hala gorani is standing by at the cnn center as well. we're awaiting moammar gadhafi. getting ready we're told to speak to journalists gathered at that journalist hotel in tripoli. we'll check in to see what's going on there as well. stand by for that. nic robertson is at the hotel and we'll, okay, have live coverage of gadhafi when h
forces today, and the regime is offering a reward, almost half a million u.s., for the capture of a top opposition figure. we have new cnn video coming in from ras lanuf where rebels with fighting to hold their ground. government troops are using planes and heavy artillery to try to retake the eastern oil city. in the western city of zawiya, libyan television showed government supporters cheering in the streets today, but there are now unconfirmed reports that rebels have retaken the main square there. after days of heavy fighting, it's almost impossible to get through to anyone in zawiya for any independent confirmation of what's going on there. today gadhafi is also sending a new warning to the united states and its allies as they consider imposing a no-fly zone over libya. he promises that all libyans will fight back against what he calls an act of aggression and an attempt to control libya's oil. >> translator: it will be clear aggression. it will also be clear that the intentions are to control libya's oil, choke libya's liberty, land and people. all of the libyans carry weapons so
for their response even as they go through their own political transitions. i have, therefore, approved the use of u.s. military aircraft to help move egyptians who have fled to the tunisian border to get back home to egypt. i've authorized usaid to charter other civilian aircraft to help people from other countries to find their way home, and we're supporting the efforts of international organizations to evacuate people as well. i've also directed usaid to send humanitarian assistance teams to the libyan border so they can work with the united nations, ngos, and other international partners inside libya to address the urgent needs of the libyan people. going forward, we will continue to send a clear message -- the violence must stop. moammar gadhafi has lost legitimacy to lead and he must leave. those who perpetrate violence against the libyan people will be held accountable. and the aspirations of the libyan people for freedom, democracy, and dignity must be met. >> our senior international correspondent, ben wedeman, is joining us now from eastern libya, and our white house correspondent, dan lothi
on rebels this hour. new targets, more carnage and the intense pressure for u.s. military action. >>> also, the crisis that libya keeps pushing up gas prices across the country. that's creating more economic misery here at home, and new political danger for president obama. plus, protesters warn the u.s. congress may, may be on the brink of stoking new violence against muslims. anger and anticipation are building before controversial hearings this week on islamic extremism in america. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." libya centering the fourth week of what's now a full-fledged civil war. moammar gadhafi's forces are claiming new gains in their pounding of rebel-held cities. gadhafi maintaining a tight grip on the capital of tripoli, and the opposition appears to be holding out to benghazi in the east, but there are conflicting reports about who is in control of several other key cities, where fierce, fierce battles have been raging now for days. diplomatic sources at the united nations say the united states is working with france and britain on draft resolution on libya, a
, and it was a much smaller earthquake, it was estimated around 13 trillion yen which is about $140 billion u.s., and so the question now has to be asked, especially as we look at the damage here at first light of these live pictures from our affiliate nhk, we have to start asking not only the economic losses but, okay, more seriously, what will be the human toll in all of this. the death toll now standing at 188 people, but, of course, that will surely rise as the search crews begin to fan out amongst all the devastation and destruction and try and find those people who survived this, wolf. >> stand by for a moment because kyung lah, our correspondent in tokyo, is now joining us. i know you've had an unbelievably difficult day today, but where are you now and exactly what's going on? >> reporter: i'm about 150 miles south of the region that's been hardest hit, that sendai region where we've seen that tsunami come across and devastate all those agricultural plains, the airport, the town. what we're heading to and trying to understand now that it's daylight is how extensive is this -- is this. w
are soaring, up 28 cents in the past ten days, so will the u.s. take drastic measures to try to ease the financial pain, and tens of thousands of people have fled the turmoil to libya's border with tunisia, but as government troops mass, is there any way for them to get out. wrench? wrench. basic. preferred. at meineke i have options on oil changes. and now i get free roadside assistance with preferred or supreme. my money. my choice. my meineke. >>> the turmoil in libya is pushing oil higher and higher by the day. crude oil prices are at their highest level since september 2008 nearing $105 a barrel, and that's already hurting all of us at the pump, but the obserama administration has been resisting calls to tap into the strategic reserve. lisa sylvester joins us here. like a hidden tax, the higher a gallon of gas costs, the more people have to shell out of their pockets. >> and people are really focusing on this issue when it comes to this pocketbook issue of gasoline prices, but obama administration says we're not in emergency right now, and that is what the strategic reserve was
following and i know that you're in touch with the u.s. government. the u.s. government and the obama administration working closely with you to help. i'm going to ask you if the u.s. government is sending experts over to japan to deal with this potential radiation fallout issue and a lot more, what else the u.s. could be doing. stand by, mr. ambassador. we're also going to be talking with our reporters on the scene. anna corn is now in sendai. that's the scene of the devastation. we're going to be checking in with her throughout the next several hours. much more of the breaks news coverage coming up here in "the situation room." we're america's natural gas. and here's what we did today in homes all across america: we created the electricity that powered the alarm clocks and brewed the coffee. we heated the bathwater and gave kelly a cleaner ride to school. cooked the cube steaks and steamed the veggies. entertained dad, and mom, and a neighbor or two. kept watch on the house when they slept. and tomorrow we could do even more. we're cleaner, domestic, abundant and ready now. we're am
to libya, gene cretz talking to the opposition chief. >> >> a u.s. officials confirmed the authenticity of the call, but would not comment on the query about weapons. hillary clinton is speaking to the opposition, too. >> we are reaching out to the opposition inside and outside of libya. i will be meeting with some of those figures both here in the united states and when i travel next week to discuss what more the united states and others can do. >> reporter: but moammar gadhafi and is spokesman's son show no signs of caving into pressure. >> the libyan peet will never, ever welcome nato, will never, ever welcome americans here. libya is not a piece of cake. we are n-- >> this is a kind of stalemate back and forth, but i think longer term, that the regime will prevail. >> jill dougherty reporting for us from the state department. we'll have a lot more on what general clapper, head of the national -- director of national intelligence had to say. this note, though, i have been invited to travel with secretary clinton on her overseas trip next week. i'll be reporting on critical talks abou
. >> are they asking for any u.s. help now, jeanne? >> yes, they are. the u.s. from the beginning has offered to do whatever was needed. finally a formal request, both to the nuclear regulatory commission here in the u.s. and the iaea and the nrc already had two experts on the ground and are building up a larger team to go over there. the japanese have asked for some equipment to help them deal with this cooling situation at the fukushima plant. >> all right. jeanne, stay in close touch with you. thanks very much. here's a question a lot of us are asking right now is could this kind of disaster actually help in the united states. we'll check in on that possible and much more of the fallout from the snuk problem. that's coming up and other sore stories we're following as well. >> our brian todd is in the emergency crew in japan and as you pointed out, time may be running out to find survivors. big deal is on a mission for priceline. uncovering hotel freebies like instant discounts, free-nights... ...and free breakfast at hotels in virtually every city. so, thanks to this large man in a little jetpac
-faced as threat piled on threat. instability in the mediterranean. attacks on the u.s. 6th fletd and an end to western oil contracts. then, as dramatic as his entrance, his exit no less theatrical. driven away in a golf cart. security men bouncing journalists and supporters out of the way. this is the scene after he's left. he's just gone out of building five minutes ago. the nice flower arrangement trampled over there by the hoards of people trying to get close to him. it's just a tidy up now. his message at the end very clear. this situation cannot go on, we will have to do something about it. and a message for the united states as well. if you're thinking of coming in to libya, we are ready for the challenge. nic robertson, cnn, tripoli, libya. >>> president obama put gadhafi and his forces on notice this week. his message, step down and stop the bloodshed or you will all be held accountable. the president spoke about the situation in libya during a news conference with the president of mexico. he offered new help for refugees along with strong words for gadhafi. >> colonel gadhafi needs
radiation to escape. the u.s. energy secretary steven chu was up until 2:30 in the morning monitoring the situation, and the u.s. has experts and equipment en route. >> a great deal of monitoring equipment that can be used by the japanese. it includes airborne equipment that can you put in airplanes. >> to monitor the radiation. >> the radiation and the radiation release, the type of release. we also have ones that can be deployed on the ground so that we can be sure that whatever does get released, if it begins to go in the direction of major metropolitan areas, that we can give people fair warning. >> reporter: why all that monitoring equipment, well, a senior administration official says that at this point in time there is not a clear picture of how much is being released, where it is, and where that is going. the nuclear regulatory commission, meanwhile, says the steps being taken by the japanese parallel those that would be made by the u.s. in a similar situation. wolf? >> all right. we're going to have a lot more on this part of the story coming up. jeanne, thanks very much. >>>
ambassador to the u.s. said on our air a short time ago that there was no meltdown in progress. but an official with japan's nuclear and industrial safety agency told cnn it is a possibility there may be one underway. he said, we have still not confirmed that there's an actual meltdown, but there is a possibility. the reason they think there might be one underway is that they have detected radioactive cesium and radioactive iodine outside of that plant. that official went on to say, however, we have confidence that we will resolve this. this was reiterated by japan's chief cabinet secretary. he said in a press conference a short time ago, we can stabilize the situation. now, adding another level to this is the fact that a second reactor at that same plant is now having problems with its cooling system. this is exactly what started the problem at the first reactor. so that, the temperature in that second unit is believed to be rising. we were told by a japanese official that nine people have now had radiation exposure. it's been detected on their clothing. at this point, they do
in japan ramps up, the ground keeps shaking. listen to this. u.s. geological survey reports in the past 24 hours alone, there have been more than 140 quakes of magnitude 4.5 or higher. some strong enough to generate new tsunami warnings. cnn's paula hancocks was in the devastated city of sendai today. >> reporter: the devastation from friday's earthquake and deadly tsunami is clear here in the city of sendai. we're quite close to the port here, maybe half a mile away and you can see how far the mangled mess of these cars has actually been flung. you can feel the weight and the force of the water. and all the way up here, you can see cars that have just been flipped over onto their head, wrapped around electrical pylons. further down towards the port, you can see full-sized trucks that have been smashed against building. notably, the building themselveses are still standing, but the devastation is pretty clear to see and definitely all across the tarmac here. the reason we're not going further down into the port itself is because there's been at least two tsunami warnings. this is just in t
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